The ambitious LEGO display, which recreates St.Mark’s Basilica and Square, includes more than half a million LEGO pieces. The entire creation is rendered in impressive detail from the Corinthian columns to the pristine white building to the guards in front. Simon was faithful down to the scene’s minutiae, including the safety blockades that keep the masses from the holy leader, quite a few tourists with LEGO cameras (we spotted a nun with a selfie stick!), and even The Pope’s skullcap.
The LEGO Vatican was actually a project Simon had dreamed about since he was in middle school and had made a few, half-hearted attempts in the past. For his most recent and successful venture, Simon began gathering blocks about two years ago and then put his plan into action in honor of The Pope’s visit to Philadelphia.
It’s really cool looking and likely safe from destruction by children, unlike what happened at the LEGO Expo in China a few days ago. Unlucky artist Zhao’s $15,000 Zootopia creation lasted only an hour on display before getting pushed over by a youngster.
When you look at the shape of it, with small feet, long narrow body and big head, it’s easy to see how anyone could have tilted it just a little to off balance it and send it crashing to the floor. Zhao was heartbroken to see it broken but declined compensation from the parents when they apologized. At least he has photos of the finished piece to remember it by.